July 20th, 2014 by Sandy Dechert
Having recently visited Fabien Cousteau’s Mission 31 under the sea and a water creature from long ago (Lyrarapax unguispinus), we thought it might interest you to revisit what’s hiding deep in the oceans today. For this, we turn to a classic video from oceanographer David Gallo: “Underwater Astonishments,” as related by Gallo in a very popular TED talk.
“Today we’ve only explored about 3% of what’s out there in the ocean. Already we’ve found the world’s highest mountains, the world’s deepest valleys, underwater lakes, underwater waterfalls…. There’s still 97%, and either that 97% is empty or just full of surprises.”
See the video here.
The surprises visited in Gallo’s odyssey under the sea include amazing landscapes and individuals and masses of morphing, colorful, and bizarre bioluminescent organisms.
Looking at an image of the globe, Gallo says, “On this scale, you can hardly see any trace of humanity. Like microbes, we’ve managed to make this planet sick. There are 7 billion people on this planet, and many more to come, and I’m afraid we’re going to screw it up.”
He recently spent some time with ocean explorer and champion Jim Cameron, whom you may remember as the person who created two of the highest-grossing Hollywood films, both of them featuring the oceans (Avatar and Titanic). Cameron is one of only a handful of people who have ventured seven miles down in the Pacific’s Challenger Deep.
“During my visit with Jim he said something to me about the sea that stopped me in my tracks. We were discussing the inability to effectively convey the importance of the ocean to humanity and vice versa. Jim said, “‘The oceans are changing faster than we can understand them.’”
Though humans have now explored about twice as much of what’s under the sea now as in Gallo’s earlier statement, most of what Sylvia Earle calls “the blue heart of the planet” remains a fascinating mystery. Let’s hope we can get there before most of the plastic does.
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